This morning at the Mulcahy YMCA, Rep. Raul Grijalva presented the YMCA of Southern Arizona with a check that will buy six new buses for the organization.

The $810,000 federal grant was issued by the Economic Development Initiative Program.

The buseswhich can seat up to 14 at a timewill be used to transport kids from class to the Y’s after-school programs.

“For many parents, daycare, childcare is a problem,” Grijalva said. “The Y has always filled that gap and they have wonderful, enriching activitiesnot only recreational but educational and cultural as well.”

The Y says the new buses allow them to put their focus in the right place by ensuring a few things.

“That we have a reliable fleet and that our teams aren’t spending time attempting to take care of failing or aged vehicles while we’re also wanting to give attention to running our programming,” Executive Director of YMCA youth development Karin Malbrough said.

In doing so, the Y will be able to improve the learning experience and get kids from low-income areas more involved.

President and CEO of the YMCA of Southern Arizona Kurtis Dawson said these programs have the power to change lives.

We do whatever we can to meet the needs where people are at. And we believe ‘Come as you are.’ No reason to stop you from being a part of the YMCA and what we do. And so, we open doors,” Dawson said.

“And investments like the one Rep. Grijalva made, the fundraising that we do through our annual campaign, other grants and supporters, it makes sure no one is turned away based on inability to pay.

Grijalva agrees.

“What we can do now to invest in making their lives fuller, more secure and better is all benefit later on,” he said. A lot of kids are gonna have a lot of opportunities that they wouldnt have had otherwise.”